Scotland

China coronavirus: Further negative test for virus in Scotland

Tourists in masks at Edinburgh Castle Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption People across the world have been taking precautions against the virus, including some in Edinburgh

A further patient in Scotland has returned a negative test for the new strain of coronavirus.

An update from the Scottish government has confirmed that a total of seven people have been tested for the disease, which is thought to have originated in Wuhan, China.

At least 70 people have been checked for the virus in the UK, although no case has been confirmed

The number of people killed in China by the virus is 106.

A further 3,000 have been confirmed ill with the disease by the Chinese authorities.

The Scottish government said in a statement: "There are currently no confirmed cases in the UK or of UK citizens abroad and the risk to the public is low.

"The government is monitoring the situation closely and will continue to work with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and international community."

Efforts are continuing to trace around 2,000 people who have entered the UK from China on international flights.

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England's chief medical officer, Prof Chris Whitty, has said there is a "fair chance" that the UK will see some cases.

BBC Scotland understands that one of those tested in Edinburgh was a Chinese student who had become unwell after visiting family in Wuhan.

He was believed to have first been in the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary before being transferred to the Western, where the Regional Infectious Diseases Unit is located.

It is not known where the other patients were being treated.

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On Friday, Scotland's chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood said: "Scotland is well prepared for these types of outbreaks - we have a proven track record of dealing with challenging health issues and the UK was one of the first countries in the world to develop a test for the new virus.

"I am being kept fully informed about the precautionary steps being taken, including timely updates on the patients who are currently being tested."

Virus spread 'accelerating'

A public health hub has been set up at Heathrow, consisting of clinicians and other public health officials.

The virus, which is new to science, has now spread to other countries outside China, including France, Nepal, the US and Australia.

In China, travel restrictions have already hit several affected cities and President Xi Jinping has warned the spread of the virus is "accelerating".

Health Protection Scotland is advising travellers returning from Wuhan who become unwell with a sore throat, cough or breathing difficulty - with or without fever - within 14 days of their return, to call their GP or NHS 24 to see if further assessment is needed.

How is the outbreak affecting Chinese students in Scotland?

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  • Dundee University has 34 students from Wuhan studying in Dundee as a result of its partnership with Wuhan University. Five members of staff returned from a visit to Wuhan last week. No health concerns have been raised.
  • Aberdeen University said five of its staff members visited Wuhan recently. Four returned to the university three or more weeks ago while the fourth is working from home as a precautionary measure.
  • Any students who have been in China, or other areas where incidents of infection have been reported, within the last 14 days, and are experiencing respiratory symptoms, should contact their GP or NHS 24.
  • Students should be careful if receiving packages from areas where the virus is present, especially if they contain food items.

Learn more about the new virus

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